Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Mon, 18 Jul 2011


You sure are right about having all sorts of emotions. No tears, but it feels like something is swimming around in my stomach. I know what to expect, but I anticipate it will be a much happier experience than last time I came home.. haha. And to let you know, the past 6 weeks of journaling have been my best by far. So I'll always remember the miracles and struggles of a missionary in his final transfer. I think it has helped my focus knowing I'd be accounting for each day, and I committed to be completely honest in writing exactly what's going on. It will be so nice to be able to keep in touch with anyone I want to out here. Missionaries are a little tougher to keep in touch with though. But yeah, I feel bad for Dad and the missionaries of his generation. I can't imagine how it would be to leave the mission without being able to say, "Cool, I'll talk to you later. You can add me on Facebook." haha. It's awesome to hear that Girls Camp went great! And I can't wait to see my cute little one year-old Charli when I get home!

This past week went well! We had dinner with that new investigator Dean and his roommate Josh on Wednesday, and that was awesome! They made us a nice steak dinner. As we spoke of the Gospel, the Spirit was very strong. When Elder Wonnacott shared the story of Joseph Smith from the sincerity of his own testimony, they both acknowledged the intensity of the Spirit at that point and they knew it was true. Josh said, "Wow, good job at that part!" Elder Wonnacott said, "It's not me making you feel that way." And Josh said, "I know, I'm talking to the Spirit." Haha, so funny and cool. Even though Dean has acknowledged the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the testimony of Joseph Smith, his anti-organized religion and born again Christian ideas that he holds onto so strongly prevented him from keeping any more commitments than to read and pray. That night though, he gained a stronger witness initially than many of the people whom I taught and helped prepare to be baptized. Josh on the other hand loved everything, and almost seemed like he was dragging us to the font. But then he didn't show up at church or answer our calls yesterday.. hmm, we'll be stopping by tonight to see what's up.

We also met a new investigator on Saturday who actually does have a baptism date now! His name is Allen. He was living in California where one of his friends was a strong member of the church. He continually invited Allen to attend church and church activities, but he always declined. He finally said, "You know what, I'm heading out to Wisconsin for work where I won't know anyone. When I'm out there, if I see any of your missionaries around, I'll holler." Well, shortly after he arrived, he hopped on a bus, and there, out of probably 200,000 people who live in the Green Bay area (that may be a high estimate), were the Hmong elders right by the door of the bus. He didn't want to be a liar, so he talked to them. They gave him a card with our phone number on it. After spending a little while on the website, he gave us a call and we met with him that night. The lesson wasn't standard by any means, but was exactly what he needed. We set a goal with him to be baptized on Aug 13th, and he is very excited for that. He came to church yesterday and loved it. He was very open and excited to participate. So yeah, never underestimate the power in inviting your friends to church and activities! And don't give up after one try either!

So yeah, it's been good. The next couple days are packed with all the little things that come with leaving your area and transfer week, but I'll continue to be a full-time servant to the end.

My mission has been the time of my life! It has been the "adventure" that I expected, but also in many ways I hadn't expected. I know that the adventure won't end on Thursday when I am home, but it will just change locations. I have become such a better person as I've had this time to get outside myself and feel the Spirit's influence in such a huge degree helping me make corrections and become better, all so that I can be better as a servant of Jesus Christ in helping others to receive what will make them most happy in this life. I have an unshakable testimony of this Gospel. It's true. I have grown so close to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that relationship is the greatest blessing I have experienced from serving a mission. I love Wisconsin! I love the people here. These people will be dear to me throughout the rest of my life.

I will see you soon!

Elder Vogan

Monday, July 11, 2011


Mon, 11 Jul 2011


Yeah, I heard about that crazy dust storm in AZ! That must have been intense. I heard that a lot of people had problems with the sand coming into their houses. Did that happen at home?

It feels somewhat like I just barely emailed you, but on the other hand a lot has happened since Tuesday. Our work has improved this past week, even with the schedule shift from the holiday and with zone conferences. Zone conference was awesome! We did our "visualization" vision training, and now with Elder Oaks' talk from conference, we had more doctrine to pull from and it went well. We spent a couple days up in Door County (if you look at the map of WI, it's the penninsula that extends to the northeast). It is so beautiful up there. There is a branch that we cover, but until now, we haven't had much opportunity to get up there. I will attach a picture though of the sunset - it doesn't even look real. We were asked to speak in church on Sunday there, and it went really well. Elder Wonnacott and I took the whole meeting, and we completely followed the Spirit. We had hardly a vague idea of what we would speak on beforehand, but surprisingly, as we relied on the Spirit to give us what to say, I was more confident and comfortable than I would have been even completely prepared. Really cool experience. Elder Wonnacott's talk blew my mind, and everyone came up to us after the meeting thanking us for the words that they needed to hear (even some with tears in their eyes) Last night, we found a couple new people that want us to teach them and they invited us over for dinner and a lesson on Wednesday, so we are really excited about that! Well, I am glad Dad had a safe and enjoyable trip! And I hope everything goes well and is fun with girls camp this week!

I love you!

Elder Vogan


Tue, 5 Jul 2011


I'm glad to hear the family is doing well, and I am very excited for the late-summer plans! Hopefully Whitney has a wonderful birthday today!

This week was way intense, and it was probably the longest week of my whole mission! I'm not sure what made it that way, but Elder Wonnacott agrees. I was absolutely spoiled on my birthday. Spoiled rotten. I was taken out to breakfast by the Snyder brothers who are out installing security systems here. Three families got together and threw me a birthday lunch barbeque and decorated and got me a present. It was awesome! Then we went to one of the funnest service activities I've ever taken part in: Green Bay has a huge farmer's market downtown where they block off the main street for a few blocks and a lot of booths are set up vending different things. There were some elderly folks from a care home that wanted to get out and walk around at the market, so we volunteered to help. Two of the people in wheelchairs who were set to come decided not to, so instead, Elder Wonnacott and I got to walk with a cute little 92 year-old lady named Claire, each holding one of her hands. We had alot of people smile and say nice things to us and about us as we walked past, and some people who we didn't know were even taking pictures. It was funny! My little birthday date. After that we had a really spiritual lesson with a guy who ordered a bible online from us. I won't go into detail here because it was a very sacred experience. After that.. we went to the church where Sister Finnegan "needed to talk with us about something" at the church, and she brought in a platter of cupcakes all decorated. Right afterwards, the sisters gave me their awesome present: four of my favorite protein bars with some coupons for free smoothies (not cheap). Then lastly, we headed to the Huntley's - an amazing non-member family who love the missionaries. I share a birthday with their son, Noah, so they invited us to share it with them! It was great. They also got me a present and a nice card. So, yes, I was definitely taken care of! Such a good day!

The rest of the week went really well. We have been working hard and finding new people to teach. 3 of the less-active members we have been working with came to church on Sunday, and the testimony meeting was a good one! No crazy stories or anything, just simple, humble truth. Our fourth of July was a blast! We had a really good day, and we had another door of opportunity open with the family that had the party we went to. They told us we can come by anytime and we will always be welcome. Very nice people! This week is zone conference, so we are looking forward to that! There is always that let down after a holiday or crazy week, but we are working to keep full focus and determination! (Your prayers are appreciated!)

I love you! Have a great week!

Elder Vogan

Friday, July 1, 2011


Mon, 27 Jun 2011


It's great to hear from you! That is so cool that Jordan got the Priesthood and that he is taking it seriously! I think like a lot of the responsibilities and ordinances we take part in in the Gospel, it's given to us before we understand it's significance and duty completely. What a cool letter about the trek too! I did get your letter; thank you so much! I loved the pictures, and the Subway card will be very helpful this week.. (the end of the month we are always low on money and food). That will be fun for you and Dad to go to girls camp with Hannah's group. I will for sure pray for Megan.

This week was full of activities. Tuesday to Wednesday morning I got to go down on exchanges to Manitowoc and work down there. We did alot of good stuff! I helped the missionary I was with find a couple new people to teach, who I used to teach when I was there, and now they have three new baptism dates! April and Angela were two that Elder Lester and I worked with who were not ready to commit to change, but I guess over the last year and a half their hearts have been made softer. It's amazing to see that happen! Thursday, we had a cool experience: we went to visit a referral we received (the next door neighbor, recently moved in, to one of our members). As she answered the door, during our intitial greeting, she was analyzing our tags intently and suspiciously. It is a very common way that people who are not interested answer the door. Just as she was saying that it really wasn't a good time for us to be there, I said "okay, we just heard from your neighbor that you were recently moved in and just wanted to make sure that you had a church to go to and that you felt welcome here in the neighborhood." I don't remember ever welcoming someone to their own neighborhood before, but she was touched by our kind gesture, and she then openned up to us and started asking questions about where we were from and what we did. We ended up talking to her for more than an hour about the Gospel. The members that referred us will be having us over for dinner on Thursday, and they will be inviting her to come too!

Friday was leadership training in Oshkosh, and that was very good and spirit-filled. I have a greater desire now to look every person I meet in the eyes, non-members and even members too, and tell them sincerely what I know to be true. Because I do know it, and that testimony can have such an effect on people. Saturday, we got to help with the Family Fun Run, which is a sponsered 5k that funds scholarships and is an awesome activity that is done annually. Our church here in Green Bay always hosts it, and the announcer for it always talks up the Church like crazy throughout the event for our kindness and generosity. Elder Wonnacott and I were in charge of helping the kids stretch out and run their 1/2 mile race. We had to lead the way. I was worried about it with my bad knee and in our proselyting clothes, but I made it! It actually felt good to run. It was a really good event, a lot of people participated. Yesterday, we had two of the less-active families that we have been working with come to church (but without their non-member spouses :/) We were really excited about that. It is taking us awhile to find new people to teach that will progress! I don't remember ever having this problem my whole mission, but I guess every missionary needs to have these kind of lows. I won't be able to expect to see any baptisms here before I leave, but I can prepare them for after that. And those getting baptized in Manitowoc still bring me that great joy, and they are scheduled for the 16th of July! We are looking forward to a fun-filled P-day today!

Talk to you soon! Love,

Elder Vogan


June 20, 2011


Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday, Dad! Hopefully the family spoiled you and told you how much we all appreciate everything you do! Thank you for raising me right, and helping me to be where I am now doing the greatest thing I've ever done! I love you!

So, this week ended with one of the missions greatest meetings ever! We had five general authorities come visit the mission, and this was the first time since before I've been in the field that the whole mission gathered together for a mission conference. Presiding was Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve (with his wife), and also visiting were Elder Hallstrom (Pres. of 70), Elder Arden (newly called 70 from last conference), Bishop Edgely (Pres. Bishopric), and Elder Ward (of the 70). As all the missionaries were gathered in the chapel in Neenah, and as we become reverent before they all arrived, the Spirit was very strong. Elder and Sister Cook's plane flight was running late, so we began the meeting without them and Elder Ward, who was there to pick them up. We they walked in, we all stood, and that Spirit in the room seemed to double. It was such a testimony that he is truly who we claim him to be, a chosen Apostle of the Lord, having the same authority that Christ gave to the Apostles when He was in Jerusalem.

The meeting was amazing, and everyone got so much out of it. It was funny afterward when we got everyone together for a mission picture with all the general authorities. We had 5 or 6 levels in front of the stage. Missionaries on the ground, chairs, standing behind the chairs, sitting on the stage, standing behind them on the stage, and then standing on chairs on the stage. It was intense, and I'm excited to see how the picture turned out.

Otherwise, the work is going good! We have 2 new part-member families we've started teaching. One is from Peru, so she said our next appointment can be a dinner and she will let us help her make some authentic peruvian comida - ceviche and green spaghetti. We are excited. The non-member dad is American or else we'd have to pass them on to the Spanish elders. All the investigators we have been working with here are either progressing very slowly, or we passed them off to the Sisters, or they dropped us. The mission has its ups and downs. If we get sad or even devastated, it means we love and care about these people (like we should), but if we get discouraged, it means we are losing faith and effectiveness. It is a hard balance, but you learn it after two years!

Well I do love you! I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Vogan

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Mon. June 13, 2011


Hope you had a great week in Mexico, and hopefully nothing crazy happened at home when you were away! I still have not got the pictures from graduation, but I assume that might be because you were gone this last week and haven't sent them yet. I had a couple questions this week: What is the recipe for making chicken pot pie? There is a family here who has a tradition for each missionary leaving the area to make them dinner. They provide the ingredients. When they found out I'd be leaving in July they are already anticipating what I'll make for them. Also, the bike Dad sent out to me to use is still at the Du Charmes home in Milwaukee.. I have used it only once or twice very early on in my mission. I am planning on calling them and figuring out something. Would you like me to box it up and send it back home? Would you like me to try and sell it? If so, what's the minimum offer? I know it was an expensive bike. Maybe I can leave it a little longer and take a road trip out here with Jordan and pick it up? (If that's okay with the Du Charmes) It costs quite a bit to ship, especially if we will just be turning around and sending it to Jordan's mission. Besides, Britney Sigman, a girl I taught and was baptized shortly after I left Rapids will be going through the temple in late July and she asked if I'd be able to come for that. So yeah, just something I've thought about.

But anyway, getting away from the "trunky" thoughts, we had a really good week this week. Elder Wonnacott and I have been working hard and are starting to see good things. There is a fresh feeling here now, with Elder Wonnacott brand new and me only here six weeks, we have new vision and fire. We have been stopping by and getting to know the members better, and between Saturday and Sunday, we received eight referrals - it was awesome! Many of which came without our solicitation. I rekindled my testimony of tracting yesterday as well. I have been much more of one to have a place to go and then just talking to everyone we pass by or see outside. I have everyone added in my gps from our area book, every member and anyone who has ever been recorded to have shown interest in the gospel. So, usually with time when we don't have appointments we would go to one of those people and then contact around where they live, giving us a reason to be in the neighborhood. Of course when we were walking somewhere we'd follow promptings to knock random doors, but I haven't been one to pick a neighborhood and straight up tract it. But, one of our referrals we received was from members who didn't want us to say they sent them. They told us they were really nice and lived the Word of Wisdom already, but the members didn't want them to feel like they "sicked" us on them. So we ended up tracting for a little while where that referral lived, and it went well! We ended up teaching the father of that family, he took a pamphlet and said he'd be interested in us coming back! The family who referred us was way happy to hear that. I came to the conclusion that even though it is shown to be one of the least effective ways for us to work, it should still be included often in the plans. It keeps the spirits up and makes you feel like a missionary. (And almost all the cool mission stories come from tracting). In the 45 minutes we were in the area, 4 people openned the door and 3 out of the 4 allowed us to teach them. 2 said we could come back. I lost interest in tracting before because although we can teach alot of lessons doing it, the people we found didn't usually progress too far. When a member refers the missionary or it's a part-member family, it's crazy how much more and faster the people progress. So, do missionary work! Hopefully this member family will jump in and invite them over for some lessons with us as they continue to learn.

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Hope you all have a wonderful week! And hopefully I at least receive one email from someone before I get off the computer today..


Elder Vogan


Mon. June 6, 2011

Hello family,
Mazatlan huh? I bet that will be a fun week for you! And hopefully things are well at home with Megan during that time! Jordan will definitely be working for his money this week. So, yeah, this week is transfers - my companion is shipping back home and going right back to heavy labor working asphalt with his dad until Fall, then he'll be at Snow College. He'll leave to Milwaukee Wednesday and flight out Thursday morning. It's been alot of fun serving with Elder Peckham; he and I will keep in touch for sure! My new companion will be Elder Wannacott. He's awesome! It's interesting, I've been his zone leader for at least a little while in every area he's served in, and now I get to train him up! He is from bountiful, UT, but he has also lived in Germany for many years because his dad is a military doctor on the base in Ramstein. He actually knew Elder Turney who was also from that base in Germany. Pretty crazy!

That's awesome to hear about your missionary efforts at home; keep it up! This week went well for us. It seemed to fly by pretty quick. We had a nice family, the Le Clouxs, come to church yesterday, and hopefully they felt the Spirit and will continue progressing. I think the mom came more to be respectful to Elder Peckham, it being his last Sunday. But the kids loved church. I'm loving the ward here more and more. We always have those families in each of the areas that really support and love us missionaries, and I have enjoyed the relationships I have out here. One family, the Robertsons, jumped right on that family missionary plan, and they will been spending alot of time with us today. They will be hanging out with us during our P-Day activities and then tonight they are puting together a bon fire activity and inviting all of their non-member friends to come and ask questions about the church. The two oldest daughters have said they'd like to serve missions, so hopefully these experiences keep encouraging that! Today will be fun though. The four or five sets of missionaries here in Green Bay will all be eating at this awesome restaurant called the Pancake Place for lunch and then playing a game called speedball or crazyball at the church(I will have to teach the youth down there when I get home, it's alot of fun).

I am not excited for Elder Peckham to leave, but I am excited for freshness and change. It's always a good time to re-evaluate and recommit our efforts and set good goals. I will let you know how it's going next week! Have fun!


Elder Vogan